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Role Binding

This chapter will detail how to:

  • Grant/modify permissions (Roles) on given Resources to a User (Idp or Robot User).
  • Remove all permissions on a Ressource from a User (Idp or Robot User).

Default Privileges

  • Root User: The activation of the Authentication and Authorization feature generates a Root User with unalterable and unrevokable clusterAdmin privileges.
  • Robot User: Robot users do not have any permission by default. They will need to be set by a clusterAdmin.
  • The case of the Pipeline User: In Pachyderm, you do not explicitly grant users access to pipelines, they get set for you when you create or update a pipeline.

Rules to keep in mind

  • A user or group can have one or more roles on a specific Resource.
  • Roles are inherited: if a user has a role on a cluster, they have that role for all projects and repos in that cluster.
  • The creator of a repo becomes its repoOwner.
  • To update a pipeline, you must have at least repoReader-level access to all pipeline inputs and repoWriter-level access to the pipeline output. This is because pipelines read from their input repos and write to their output repos.
  • When a user subscribes a pipeline to a repo, Pachyderm sets that user as an repoOwner of that pipeline's output repo. If additional users need access to the output repository, the initial repoOwner of a pipeline's output repo, or a clusterAdmin, needs to grant that user access to the repo.

Set Roles to Users

  • A clusterAdmin can grant admin privileges on a cluster or any lower level ressources to other users.
  • A repoOwner of a given repository (or a clusterAdmin as mentioned above) can set any level of access to "their" repo to users by running the command:

    pachctl auth set <ressource> <ressource name> [role1,role2 | none ] <prefix:subject>

To keep using our Auth0 example and illustrate the attribution of a given Role to a User, let's have our Root User (with default clusterAdmin privileges) give repoReader access to a repo to our user.

In particular, we will:

  1. Connect as our Root User again.
  2. Create a repo named testinput containing one text file.
  3. Grant repoReader access on this repo to our user registered with our IdP (Auth0).
  4. See what happens when tries to write in the repo without the proper writing access.

  • First, let's connect as our Root User:

    pachctl auth use-auth-token
    You will be asked to re-enter your Root token.

  • Second, create a Repo as follow:

    mkdir -p ./testinput 
    printf "this is a test" >./testinput/test.txt
    pachctl create repo testinput
    cd testinput && pachctl put file testinput@master -f test.txt
    A quick pachctl list repo will list your new repo and display your access level on that repo as a clusterAdmin. Admin Repo Access Level

  • Third, grant repoReader access to our user

    pachctl auth set repo testinput repoReader
    ... and take a quick look at his access level:
    pachctl auth get repo testinput
    The command returns the list of users granted access to this repo and their associated access level. [repoReader]
    pach:root: [repoOwner]


    Note that the user has a prefix user. Pachyderm defines 4 prefixes depending on the type of user:

    • robot
    • user
    • group
    • pipeline (as mentioned above, this prefix will not be used in the context of granting privileges to users. However, it does exist. We are listing it here to give an exhauxtive list of all prefixes.)

    Aditionnally, the "everyone" user allClusterUsers has no specific prefix. See the example below to learn how to assign repoReader access to allClusterUsers on a repo.

  • Finally, have try to add a file to testinput without proper writing privileges:

    # Login as ``
    pachctl auth login
    # Try to write into testinput repo
    printf "this is another test" >./testinput/anothertest.txt
    cd testinput && pachctl put file testinput@master -f anothertest.txt
    The command returns an error message: is not authorized to perform this operation - needs permissions [REPO_WRITE] on REPO testinput


Use --help to display the list of all available commands, arguments, and flags of the command pachctl auth set.


  • To alter a user's privileges, simply re-run the pachctl auth set command above with a different set of Roles. For example,

    pachctl auth set repo testinput repoWriter
    will give repoWriter privileges when they were inially granted repoReader access.

  • You can remove all access level on a repo to a user by using the none keyword. For example,

    pachctl auth set repo testinput none
    will remove any previous granted rights on the repo testinput to the user

  • To assign repoReader access to allClusterUsers on a repo:

    pachctl auth set repo testinput repoReader allClusterUsers

Set Roles to Groups

If your IdP enables group support, you can grant access on Pachyderm ressources to a group of users.

Let's keep using our Auth0 example as an illustration, and:

  1. As a clusterAdmin, create a Group in Auth0.
  2. Assign our user to the newly created group.
  3. Update our connector accordingly.
  4. Grant the group an owner access to a specific repo in Pachyderm.


To enable the Group creation in Auth0, you will need to install an Authorization Extension to Auth0:

  • Go to Auth0 Dashboard > Extensions.
  • Select Auth0 Authorization and answer the prompt to install.
  • Choose where you would like to store your data: Webtask Storage for this example and click Install
  • Additionally, because Auth0 does not include the groups in the ID token when you use the Authorization Extension above, you will have to manually edit the following rule:
    • In the Auth Pipeline menu on the left, in Rules, click on auth0-authorization-extension. This will take you to the Edit Rule page of the extension.
    • Copy the following context.idToken[''] = user.groups; line 35 and Save your changes. Authorization Extension Rule Edition
  • 1- Group creation

    An Authorization link should now show on your Auth0 webpage. In Authorization/Groups, create a group. Here testgroup: Group creation

  • 2- Add your user to your group

    In Authorization/Users, select your user and add them to your testgroup as follow. Add User to Group

    In User Mangement/Users, you user should now show the following addition to their app_metadata:

        "authorization": {
            "groups": [
    - 3- Update your connector

        "type": "oidc",
        "id": "auth0",
        "name": "Auth0",
        "version": 1,
        "issuer": "",
        "clientID": "hegmOc5rTotLPu5ByRDXOvBAzgs3wuw5",
        "clientSecret": "7xk8O71Uhp5T-bJp_aP2Squwlh4zZTJs65URPma-2UT7n1iigDaMUD9ArhUR-2aL",
        "redirectURI": "http://<ip>:30658/callback",
        "scopes": ["groups", "email", "profile"],
            "groups": ""
        "insecureEnableGroups": true
    type: oidc
    id: auth0
    name: Auth0
    version: 1
        clientID: hegmOc5rTotLPu5ByRDXOvBAzgs3wuw5
        clientSecret: 7xk8O71Uhp5T-bJp_aP2Squwlh4zZTJs65URPma-2UT7n1iigDaMUD9ArhUR-2aL
        redirectURI: http://<ip>:30658/callback
        - groups
        - email
        - profile
        insecureEnableGroups: true

    Note the addition of the scopes and claimMapping fields to your original connector configuration file. Update your connector:

    pachctl idp update-connector auth0 --version 2
    Your group is all set to receive permissions to Pachyderm's ressources.

  • 4- Grant the group an admin access to a specific repo in Pachyderm.

    pachctl auth set repo testinput repoOwner group:testgroup
    A quick check at this repo should give you its updated list of users an their access level:
    pachctl auth get repo testinput
    System Response
    pach:root: [repoOwner] [repoReader]
    group:testgroup: [repoOwner]

    Useful note

    The following command pachctl auth get-groups lists the groups that have been defined on your cluster.


Role binding example

In this diagram, the data-scientists group has been assigned the repoReader role on the cluster. This gives them permissions to read all repos in all projects.

The IdP user has been assigned the repoOwner role on the nlp project. This gives them permission to read, write and grant permissions for repos within the nlp project. It does not give them any permission on the image-recognition project, or on the cluster itself.

If was a member of the data-scientists group, then they would cumulate both roles: repoReader on all repo and repoOwner on the nlp project.

The IdP user has been assigned the repoWriter role on the repo categorize-text. This gives them permission to read and write in that repo, but not to access any other repo, project, or the cluster itself.

Last update: November 29, 2021
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